Joanne Palmer: Sales draw all kinds |

Joanne Palmer: Sales draw all kinds

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

“A flea market or swap meet is a type of bazaar where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold or bartered. : The origins of the term are disputed, but some have observed that buyers and sellers may be as active as fleas.” – Wikipedia

The balance in my checkbook has barely recovered from the SmartWool sale and SSWSC Ski & Sport Swap when, much to my delight, I spied with my little eye one more – the Mountain Hardware Wholesale Inventory sale this Saturday. Whoa, Nelly! Does it get any better? One last opportunity to load up on gear, glorious gear, holiday gifts, or if you’re running for City Council, another chance to get out to shake hands and kiss a few babies. Best of all, hard-core garage salers have something to do Saturday morning besides drink too much coffee and spiral into the no-bargain-shopping depression that can occur at this time of year.

With two sales down and one to go, I must offer a lighthearted look at human : OK : local behavior during these, um : shopping opportunities.

The Grabber/Gear-o-holics

These people are on a mission. They bring their own bags. They have studied the vendor list. They are prepared. Before you have set foot inside the door, they have elbowed past you to grab everything and anything that might be of interest to them. Think of an over-caffeinated pit bull on roller skates. They are gear-o-holics determined to be prepared for any and all weather conditions. No snowflake will ever touch their skin because they are zip-locked and shrink-wrapped inside the most high-tech gear. They need a 12-step program more than anything else, but instead will swap out last year’s gear for newer, trendier stuff. Once they have filled their bags to capacity, they sit in a corner and sort through their stash, like a pirate counting his treasure.

The Give upper

This shopper starts out with good intentions and high hopes but is soon defeated by the overwhelming number of choices, the crowds and the chaos. This shopper quietly slinks away, never to be spotted at a sale again.

The Chiseler

This is the same person who goes to the grocery store with 8,000 coupons and is oblivious to the long line forming behind him or her. Even though it’s a sale and the prices are reduced, this person is still looking for a better deal, steeper discount or even a freebie. They will haggle and harangue you to come down on your price or complain loudly about having to pay to get into the sale. These people shop with a list, a set budget and possibly a calculator. They are not going to spend a penny more than they budgeted.

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The Indecisive Shopper

This person can’t make up his or her mind about much of anything and feels compelled to walk up to strangers and make comments like, “You’re about the same size as my husband, can I hold this up to you?” or “This isn’t my size, should I buy it anyway?” or “I really don’t need this, but it’s such a good price.”

The Chatterer

These people doesn’t need a bargain, they need a social function. You can hear them from across the room recounting their swine flu sagas, their frustration with the downtown road construction and who will get their vote for City Council. Once they get around to shopping, they must comment on everything they pick up such as, “Oh this is perfect for Aunt Martha,” or “Susie lost her fleece last year while sledding, so I’ll buy her one in pumpkin and green.”

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